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Russia-Ukraine crisis

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South Korea slams North Korea's fresh trash balloon launches and threatens loudspeaker broadcasts

  • South Korea threatened Tuesday to restart anti-Pyongyang frontline propaganda broadcasts in the latest bout of Cold War-style campaigns between the rivals after North Korea resumed its trash-carrying balloon launches. On Monday night, North Korea floated huge balloons carrying plastic bags of rubbish across the border in its fifth such campaign since late May — an apparent response to South Korean activists flying political leaflets via balloons. In a speech marking the 74th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, Yoon said Tuesday that South Korea will maintain a firm military readiness to overwhelmingly respond to any provocations by North Korea.

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What to know as Evan Gershkovich heads to trial in Russia

STORY: The espionage trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is set to begin in Russia this week behind closed doors. Russia is accusing him of collecting secrets for the U.S. CIA, charges he and the paper he works for, deny. Here’s what you need to know. :: Who is Evan Gershkovich? Gershkovich had reported on Russia for more than five years before his arrest. He's a fluent Russian-speaker; an American born to Soviet emigres and raised in New Jersey. Gershkovich moved to the Russian capital in late 2017 to join the English-language Moscow Times. He also worked for the French news agency Agence France-Presse and joined the Wall Street Journal just before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. :: The arrest :: Moscow, Russia:: March 30, 2023On March 29, 2023, on a trip to the industrial city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains, Gershkovich was detained by the Federal Security Service – or FSB – in a steakhouse. The FSB says he was trying to gather secrets on a Russian defense enterprise — which is one of the world’s biggest battle tank producers — about 880 miles east of Moscow. The White House condemned his arrest almost immediately in March of 2023. :: March 30, 2023 WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "These espionage charges are ridiculous.” // “We condemn the detention of Mr. Gershkovich in the strongest, in the strongest terms." U.S. President Joe Biden has called his detention (quote) “totally illegal.” :: The trial Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be detained on spy charges in Russia since the Cold War and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The FSB said it caught him, quote, “red-handed” trying to obtain military secrets.Russian prosecutors say Gershkovich carried out the illegal actions using (quote) “painstaking conspiratorial methods." They did not release any documentary evidence to back up the charge. The Wall Street Journal says Gerhskovich was on a reporting assignment and has said the accusations are based on lies. It denies he is a spy and demands his release.The trial will take place behind closed doors.:: June 17, 2024U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says that’s a concern.“We are going to attempt to attend the trial. Don't know if that will be possible. We have continued to have consular access to Evan at times. We will try to attend the trial as we try to attend the trial of any American citizens who are detained in Russia.” :: Swap fund? U.S. diplomats say that Gershkovich was not a spy and that he was detained by the FSB to build up a store of arrested U.S. citizens who could later be swapped for Russians detained in the West. Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested in the past that a swap for Gershkovich could be possible... but said such negotiations should be held away from the media.
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